Riverlands Aubade

Issue 8 | Summer 2022 |



The river is always there
even when he doesn’t see it for weeks
because he’s busy milking cows and scooping
pig shit and piling fieldstone into a wall
along the low end of their property,

— something to slow erosion,
             something to make it all last
                          a bit longer —

and his dog gets enough exercise running through the barn
and his Farmall tractor needs a new clutch
so he just glances at the pond and watches water
trickle from the outlet into the creek that reaches
for a few hundred yards downstream
and convinces himself he can hear the river’s song.

             It’s always there.

When he watches sunlight land on the trees
touching them like they want to be touched, lightly,
he’s comforted knowing this river will take him someday
and he hopes it’s a morning like this, after he’s had some coffee
and he’s awake, sharp, after watching the symphony of breaths
from his wife and dog lying beside each other in their bed,
the warmth and life of that union still clinging to his arms
so he has something comforting to hold
as he sinks wide-eyed and open-mouthed
into the deepest channel that runs
along the opposite bank.